Center to Provide Arts and Educational Programs for Students and Public
YONKERS, NY – October 21, 2015 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Purchase College, State University of New York President Thomas J. Schwarz today officially opened the new Purchase College Center for Community and Culture (PC4) at 16 Warburton Avenue in the Yonkers Waterfront District. The Center will offer college students the opportunity to undertake urban projects as part of their studies, as well as youth and adult arts and English classes for Yonkers residents.
“Today’s opening of PC4 offers a vibrant hub of programming in the arts and effective social activism to Yonkers, which is a true benefit to the youth of our city,” said Mayor Spano. “We are proud to have Purchase College as a partner as we continue our cradle to career approach in providing our city’s youth with the resources necessary to support their success into adulthood. We thank Purchase College for its commitment to our residents and students – this is another great step in our revitalization efforts to the waterfront district community.”
Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz said, “We look forward to providing the neighborhood with high-quality arts and educational programming through the Purchase College Center for Community and Culture in Yonkers. We hope that PC4 will help foster public engagement and will serve as a cultural anchor for the downtown area. We’re grateful to Mayor Spano for his vision and determination to revitalize this diverse and vibrant community.”
The Purchase College Center for Community & Culture (PC4), occupying 4,000 square feet, is intended to drive social impact and relevance focusing on how artists, designers, scholars, students and local organizations can act as agents of urban recovery and community empowerment. The City of Yonkers granted Purchase College $300,000 in Community Block Grant funds in support of PC4.
Purchase College will engage with local residents in three program areas:
· Education Programs: workshops, adult classes, youth classes, and long-term apprenticeship programs (semester length/summer length programs)
· Critical Inquiry and Creative Engagement: local residents work collaboratively with the two campus communities through workshops, courses, and public programs.
· Ongoing cultural events, performances, screenings, and exhibitions: free public programs that relate to the initiatives listed above. Art and lectures on a variety of topics will be presented for interaction, involvement and reaction by the local population and creative communities.
Currently, PC4 is conducting The Arts for Social Change class instructed by Assistant Professor Chris Robbins and member of the world-renown arts group, Ghana Think Tank. The class is a laboratory in which Purchase students engage with the local community. Public art is used in this course to promote community engagement and cross-cultural interaction. Students use established, recognized methods of collaboration to explore local community issues, concluding with the physical implementation and exhibition of student-led solutions.
Purchase College will roll out a series of community programs between now and spring 2016 including a peace workshop in collaboration with multiple SUNY campuses and a graduate student fellowship program geared to build partnerships with Yonkers residents.
Purchase College opens space in the Yonkers waterfront district just weeks after College of New Rochelle opened an annex on Ashburton Avenue, making the College the second higher education institution to invest in west Yonkers this year.
SOURCE: Christina Gilmartin, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor